Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread Granola

It’s been said that we cannot live on bread alone. I suppose that must apply to gingerbread as well, although that is really a cake, and in some cases a cookie. Since cakes and cookies probably also do not qualify as something on which we could live alone (although it might be fun to die trying), I might have to find something healthier to load with gingerbread flavors.

I nominate granola for this task. While Harry is happy to eat cake and cookies (not to mention Pumpkin Pie) for breakfast, that doesn’t really work for me. But I can get a more wholesome gingerbread fix if I take my basic Granola recipe and adjust the sweeteners and spices to represent the flavors of old fashioned gingerbread.

This means replacing the honey and maple syrup with molasses and more brown sugar and adding plenty of ground ginger along with nutmeg and cloves with the cinnamon. I thought that among dried fruits raisins and dates went best with the ginger-molasses flavors (and I was able to get my hands on some really good, plump dates). Finally, I gilded the lily (or gingered it) with a little bit of finely minced crystallized ginger. This provides a pretty strong flavor and you can leave it out if it’s just too much, or if you cannot find it (it should be available in the Asian section of supermarkets, but I also found it, quite economically priced, among the dried fruits at the local bulk foods store).

When I first made this granola, I burned it a little, so I tried to adjust the recipe for an appropriate baking time. You might want to keep a close eye on it in the final 8 minutes or so of baking, and be sure to stir the granola occasionally while it’s in the oven. If nothing else, it needs to be redistributed so that there are no thin spots or corners that can easily burn.

This may not exactly satisfy your holiday season sweet tooth, but I think you can probably feel less guilty about eating it for breakfast with some milk or lightly-sweetened yogurt than you might about eating the heads off of all the gingerbread men in the house. You also probably cannot live on this stuff alone, but the oats, wheat germ, nuts and dried fruit certainly have a higher WFQ* than just about any batch of gingerbread.

Gingerbread Granola Recipe

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup butter
¼ cup molasses
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped dates
¼ cup finely minced crystallized ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F
1. In a very large bowl, mix the oats, pecans, wheat germ, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the molasses and brown sugar. Cook, stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Carefully pour over the oat mixture and together to coat well.

3. Spread mixture evenly in a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray or lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake at 325 F for about 25-30 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes. Check the granola frequently after about 25 minutes to make sure it is not burning.

4. Carefully transfer granola to a large bowl. Add the raisins, dates and crystallized ginger and stir to combine. Cool completely.

Makes about 7 cups.

*WFQ: Whole Food Quotient

No comments:

Post a Comment